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>> Tom: Many people have complained lately about AT&T's network problems.
>> It kind of sucks.
>> Tom: My solution to spotty 3G data coverage, switch to Verizon, here's how. The Verizon MiFi it's a cigarette pack sized portable access point. It takes the cellular data from Verizon's network and rebroadcasts it as WiFi. Sprint also offers a version of the MiFi but Verizon has better coverage where I live. It's smaller than an iPhone and, of course, this trick will work for any phone that has WiFi. Turn on the Verizon MiFi and make sure it's running. Go to your phone and connect to the WiFi access point. Now you have Verizon's data network behind your phone and this means a couple of things. For one I get much better data coverage in my area with Verizon. For instance, AT&T's 3G network craps out about half way across the Bay Bridge cutting off my Pandora or Twitter or whatever else I'm using. The Verizon data network stays connected all the way across. Another happy accident of using the system this way is you get around data network restrictions. Some video apps like Juiced or Sling Player only work over WiFi, so when you're connected via WiFi to Verizon the app works just fine anywhere even though you don't have a regular WiFi connection. Also, some apps like Apple's iTunes restrict downloads unless you're on WiFi not a problem when the phone thinks it's on WiFi. But that brings us to Verizon's restrictions. The MiFi runs about $99.00 with a data contract. The contract is either $40.00 a month for 250MB of data or $60.00 a month for 5GB. For the 5GB plan you pay 5 cents a mega byte over the limit and for the miniscule 250MB plan you pay 10 cents a mega byte over the limit. So this isn't a free work-around by any stretch but you could cancel the data plan on your phone saving a little bit of money there. Another move that could make more sense is using an iPod Touch with the Verizon service since the Touch has no monthly fees at all. You can make your calls on a VoIP app like SKYPE though those calls would be data and count against your 5GB monthly limit. Now, you can share the wealth with a few other users too but keep in mind the MiFi has a limit of 5 users at a time. It ain't cheap but it does get you around some restrictions and limitations. I'm Tom Merritt, CNET.com.
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